Tennessee is the 16th U.S. state, admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. Its most populous city is Memphis, and its capital is Nashville.

Marriage Equality: A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of other forms of same-sex partnership solemnized in other jurisdictions, was approved by voters in November 2006. The constitutional ban is currently being challenged in federal court. The case is Tanco v. Haslam.

For information on state laws relating to LGBT rights, discrimination, hate crimes and adoption, click here.

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Emilia Maria Jesty with her birth "father" Sophy Jesty.

Lesbian couple named mother and father on daughter’s Tenn. birth certificate

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A baby girl born to same-sex parents who are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriage, is the first child in the state to have two mothers listed on her birth certificate. [ Read more → ]
Tennessee state capitol in Nashville.

Tenn. OKs religious freedom bill that could be a ‘license to bully’ gay students

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee state Senate on Monday passed a bill that seeks to expand religious liberty protections for students in public schools, a measure critics say could lead to hate speech against gays, and others, in public schools, all in the name of religion. [ Read more → ]
U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger

Judge denies stay in ruling that Tenn. recognize three out-of-state gay marriages

Friday, March 21, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A federal judge on Thursday refused to issue a stay in her preliminary decision last week ordering the state of Tennessee to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples while the case is proceeds in federal court. [ Read more → ]
Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.)

Tenn. appeals ruling that state recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's governor is asking a federal judge to put her ruling requiring the state to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples on hold while a higher court weighs in on the case. [ Read more → ]

Federal judge orders Tenn. to recognize marriages of three same-sex couples

Friday, March 14, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A federal judge ordered the state of Tennessee on Friday to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples while their lawsuit against the state works its way through the court system. [ Read more → ]
Alex Brandon, AP

Religious freedom bills: The latest effort to counter advances in marriage equality

Friday, February 28, 2014
WASHINGTON – Religious freedom bills in more than a dozen state legislatures this year mark the latest effort by opponents of same-sex marriage to counter the growing public acceptance of marriage equality, and the momentum of federal court rulings striking down state gay marriage bans. [ Read more → ]
WRCB-TVChris Anderson

Councilman challenges recall, says petitioners want to remove him because he’s gay

Monday, February 24, 2014
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A Chattanooga city councilman has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's recall statute after he says citizens petitioned to remove him from office because he is gay. [ Read more → ]

Freedom to Marry launches $1 million marriage equality campaign in U.S. South

Monday, February 24, 2014
NEW YORK – Freedom to Marry, the advocacy campaign to win marriage equality nationwide, on Monday launched a $1 million multi-state campaign to build majority support for marriage in the South. [ Read more → ]

Tenn. bill allowing discrimination against gay couples dead this session

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A proposal to protect wedding-related businesses from lawsuits if they refuse to provide services to same-sex couples is dead for the session after being withdrawn from a Senate committee on Tuesday. [ Read more → ]

Tenn. lawmaker introduces bill to allow religious discrimination against gays

Thursday, February 13, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Tennessee state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow individuals and businesses to refuse to provide goods and services to gays based on their religious beliefs. [ Read more → ]

Brookdale to offer same-sex spousal benefits in response to lawsuit

Friday, January 31, 2014
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Tennessee-based company that is a target of a sex discrimination complaint in Connecticut says it's changing its policy and will provide health coverage to the spouses of same-sex couples. [ Read more → ]

Plaintiffs in challenge to Tenn. same-sex marriage ban encouraged by Okla. ruling

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Supporters of marriage equality in Tennessee say they are encouraged by recent federal court rulings in Utah and Oklahoma that struck down state limits on same-sex marriage. [ Read more → ]

Tenn. businesses encouraged to support state’s LGBT community

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Equality Project is starting a new initiative to encourage business to show support for the state’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. [ Read more → ]

Store owner charged with filing false report after alleging anti-gay attack

Monday, December 30, 2013
PARIS, Tenn. -- The owner of a health food store in Tennessee, who said last month that he had been robbed and beaten in an anti-gay attack, has been arrested and charged with filing a false police report after he allegedly withheld information about the incident. [ Read more → ]

Attackers beat store owner, write ‘fag’ on his forehead in alleged hate crime

Saturday, November 23, 2013
PARIS, Tenn -- The owner of a health food store in Tennessee was beaten unconscious Wednesday evening by three men who used anti-gay slurs before robbing him and writing "fag" across his forehead. [ Read more → ]
From left: Plaintiffs Dr. Valeria Tanco and Dr. Sophy Jesty, John Espejo and Matthew Mansell, Kellie Miller and Vanessa DeVillez (Sgt. First Class Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura not pictured.)

Couples in Tenn. same-sex marriage lawsuit seek injunction

Thursday, November 21, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Four same-sex couples are asking a federal judge for a preliminary injunction that would force Tennessee to recognize their marriages. [ Read more → ]
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert

Methodist bishops plan complaint over retired bishop officiating gay wedding

Friday, November 15, 2013
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. -- The United Methodist Council of Bishops on Friday said it plans to file a complaint against a retired bishop who performed a wedding for two gay men in Alabama. [ Read more → ]

Same-sex couples file federal lawsuit in Tenn. seeking marriage recognition

Monday, October 21, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Four legally married same-sex couples on Monday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Nashville, challenging Tennessee laws that prevent the state from recognizing their marriages and treating them the same as all other legally married couples in Tennessee. [ Read more → ]

Man arrested in Tenn. in shooting death of renowned gay equestrian

Thursday, October 10, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- An arrest was made Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals Service in connection with the shooting death of renowned, openly gay Long Island equestrian riding instructor Ross Reisner. [ Read more → ]
MT Lambda display at MTSU.

Tenn. university student arrested over stolen ‘stars and stripes’ rainbow flag

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Police say they have recovered a controversial rainbow-colored flag that was taken from a display at Middle Tennessee State University. [ Read more → ]
Joshua Rigsby

‘Stars and stripes’ rainbow flag stolen at Tenn. university following complaints

Sunday, October 6, 2013
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- A rainbow pride flag that emulates the American flag's stars and stripes has stirred a controversy at Middle Tennessee State University. [ Read more → ]

Tenn. denying name changes to legally married, same-sex couples

Saturday, September 21, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is turning away same-sex couples married in other states who seek to have their names changed on driver's licenses and other state documents. [ Read more → ]

ACLU calls on Tenn. school to reinstate LGBT ‘safe space’ classroom posters

Friday, August 23, 2013
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is asking the Rutherford County school board in Murfreesboro, Tenn., to reconsider a decision to take down posters identifying classrooms as safe spaces for LGBT students. [ Read more → ]
Kat Cooper (right) and her wife, Krista, from their Maryland wedding trip earlier this year.

Church kicks out family for supporting lesbian daughter in benefits fight

Thursday, August 22, 2013
COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. -- A Tennessee church has banned an entire family from its congregation after they supported their lesbian daughter while she fought for same-sex partner benefits from the town where she worked as a police detective. [ Read more → ]

Gay couples turned away at marriage license offices in three Tenn. counties

Thursday, August 8, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Same-sex couples in at least three Tennessee counties applied for marriage licenses on Wednesday in a project coordinated by the Tennessee Equality Project. [ Read more → ]
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